Ok- as far as I know (having read the new rules only like twice) there is no tip width restriction on slalom skis. That is something I would have remembered (I think...)
I too agree that the best place for technique is WC women. Their power to weight ratio is much more similar to you or I (especially since I'm about the size of one of the women on the WC) than Herman Maier or Aamondt. I like women's slalom and GS a lot, but I'm not a huge fan of women's speed. That being said I still like watching ski racing over about everything else, just that W/DH and W/SG are #7 and #8 on my list.
|I like the idea that these changes, along with the GS ski spec of a 21 meter minimum radius, are getting back to a format where the equip is less of a variable in the equation than ultimate skier skill. It is not quite like "one design" or "spec" racing in other sports, ski technology still has room to evolve, but I like having human talent as the biggest factor who wins.
I don't like the idea of new equipment rules at all. In fact, I belive that it is going to do exactly the opposite of what you think it is going to do. I don't belive that these rules are going to make the equipment any more similar than it was before. The fastest skis on the WC change year to year with construction. The skis that aren't fast don't have a competitive construction (ie last years Volkl GS, the Nordica GS, etc) This year the Volkl is podiuming on the WC- merely because it is a better ski. No one skied it last year because no one tested well on it during the summer (men, not women). Now, with a SL minimum, it is not going to be about skill so much, but rather body type. The a lot of the huge WC men still use skis under 160 this year. They are going to have an easier time with a 165+ than a guy my size (of which there are few, but some on the WC) The quality of the skis isn't going to change. The size of the skier is. Finesse will be even less in the equation.
As for the other minimum lenths, I don't think they will affect the sport at all at the WC level. No one skis below a 185 in GS, or a 205 in SG.
I didn't pay enough attention to the KO slalom, but I thought that the top 2 non-automatically advancing times in the second round advanced. I didn't watch the race but I though that was in the rules. Plus, the whole idea with the knockout is that you merely have to beat one person with the same course conditions.